How to reduce the size of a PDF file online and for free

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Elia Tabuenca García
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Decreasing the size of a PDF file may be necessary to email the document or if you want to take up less storage space. It is possible to reduce through online tools or native Windows and macOS solutions.

has gathered the best options to compress PDF for free. Check out!

How to shrink a PDF file online

There are several websites that offer free and online PDF compression service. iLovePDF is one of the best solutions, as it allows you to choose three levels of compression.



The free version supports files up to 200MB and lets you compress up to two items at the same time. The tool does not limit the number of documents, being possible to reduce as many as you need.

1. Go to the iLovePDF website,

2. Click on the button Select PDF file to use a file saved on your device;

  • The solution also allows you to upload documents hosted on Google Drive and Dropbox. Just click on the icon corresponding to the desired cloud storage service, next to the main button;
  • If you use one of these services, you will need to sign in to your Google or Dropbox account.

3. Then choose the desired compression level:

  • extreme compression: less quality, high compression;
  • recommended compression: good quality, good compression;
  • Low compression: high quality, less compression.

4. Once the compression type has been selected, go to Compress PDF and wait for the process to complete;

5. The service offers some optional actions to do before downloading the file. They are displayed by tapping the three dots icon below the Download Optimized PDF button. They are, in the order in which the icons are arranged:



  • Insert page numbers;
  • insert watermark;
  • Rotate PDF: changes document orientation;
  • Protect PDF: prevents changes from being made to the file;
  • Organize PDF pages: allows you to change the order of pages;
  • merge PDF: join one or more files of the same format;
  • Split PDF: remove unwanted pages from the document.

6. Once the file reduction process (and possible edits) is complete, the user can choose the following saving methods:

  • Download the optimized PDF: saves the file to the computer or smartphone by clicking the main button;
  • Salvar no Google Drive ou Dropbox: click on the corresponding icon to save in these services;
  • Create a share link or QR Code: via the two chain links button.

tested the three minification level options offered by iLovePDF using the same 264KB file. The reduction was 90% at all levels.

Other tools to shrink PDF online

When searching the internet, you may find several service options that promise to reduce the size of PDF files. Most of them work similarly to iLovePDF.

In general, what differentiates them is the file limit, the maximum size supported, compression capacity, extra features offered, among other factors. Check out good options, in addition to iLovePDF, below.


- SmalPDF:

  • allows you to compress only one file at a time;
  • only one level of compression for free;
  • allows you to save the file on your device, Google Drive and Dropbox, create a link or share it via email;
  • limit of two documents per day.

- SodaPDF


  • allows you to compress only one file at a time;
  • offers three levels of compression;
  • Allows you to save the file to your device or share via email.

- Adobe:


  • allows you to compress only one file at a time;
  • only one level of compression for free;
  • lets you save the file to the device.

How to Reduce the Size of a PDF File in Windows

Windows 10 offers a native file and folder shrink tool. To use it, just right-click on the document you want to shrink.

Then follow the path: Properties → Advanced → check box next to Compress content to save disk space → OK. In the Properties of window, go to Apply.

At the same time, you can check how much the file has been reduced. Finish the process in OK.

The result may be less effective than with file compression utilities. But it offers the benefit of not needing any unzipping program or process when you want to open a document.

The difference in practical terms is that the compressed file is indicated with the icon of two arrows. Just click on it, as you would any other document or folder, to open it.


How to decrease the size of a PDF file on macOS

macOS also has a built-in file shrink feature, available in the system preview tool. To do this, open the file in Preview or Preview and open the PDF you want to reduce.

So, click File and, in the menu that opens, go to Export. Now, choose Reduce File Size in the menu next to Quartz Filter and save.

What is PDF?

PDF is a file format called Portable Document Format. It was launched in 1992 by Adobe with the differential of sharing content securely.

Items saved in the extension could not be changed. Currently, it is possible to edit PDFs, but only those that are not saved in a password-protected manner.

Another advantage of files in this format is the possibility of opening them on any device, regardless of the operating system, without misconfiguring the content. Saved images do not lose quality or change.

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